Canon EOS R8 Review

Canon EOS R8

The EOS R8 arrives positioned as Canon's entry-level full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Despite that position in the line-up, the R8 is a powerhouse, featuring the R6 II's highly advanced imaging sensor, fast processor, and incredible AF system. Additional attractive features include compact size, light weight, and a low price.

This camera is a great choice for enthusiasts, travelers, families, and anyone that desires the image quality that only a full-frame 36.0 x 24.0mm imaging sensor can provide.

In appearance, the Canon EOS R8 looks like the EOS RP with a new name. However, the internals are vastly updated, making the R8 a far superior camera.

At the R8 introduction, Canon stated that the EOS R and RP were not officially discontinued. However, you can expect these cameras to disappear from store shelves soon. For the nostalgic, the "R" was Canon's full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and the first in the R-series. The R (and RP) will appropriately be the first discontinued R-series camera models.

When these two models are gone, only R<number> R-series cameras will remain. At that time, the Canon R-series camera naming schema falls into order, with the number following the "R" indicating the camera's position in the lineup. The lower the number, the higher-end the camera, with full-frame and APS-C models intermixed in the mid-level model positions. For example, the R7 APS-C model is considered a higher-end camera than the full-frame R8 for a variety of reasons.

Summary of Canon EOS R8 Features

  • 24.2 Megapixel Full-Frame Canon CMOS Imaging Sensor inherited from EOS R6 Mark II
  • DIGIC X Image Processor
  • ISO 100-102400, Expandable down to 50, up to 204800
  • High-Speed Continuous Shooting at up to 6 fps with the 1st Curtain Electronic Shutter and 40 fps with the Electronic Shutter (no Full Mechanical Shutter available), up to 1/16000 shutter
  • Outstanding-performing Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, with algorithms inherited from the R6 Mark II
  • AF Working Range of EV -6.5 – 21
  • Full-Width Movies up to 4K UHD 60 fps (6K oversampling, 10-bit), FHD 180 fps
  • Canon Log 3, 3- or 5-second Movie Prerecording, Coordinated IS (Optical IS and Digital Movie IS), Aspect Ratio Markers (matching social media sites)
  • RAW Burst Mode with 0.5-second Pre-Shooting
  • Focus Bracketing, with Depth Compositing available in-camera
  • 0.39" (9.9mm) OLED color EVF, 2.36 million dots
  • 3" Vari-Angle LCD Touchscreen with 1.62 million dots
  • Single UHS-II SD Memory Card Slot
  • HF light flicker
  • Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Dust and Weather Resistance
  • Dual-Pixel RAW
  • Self-Cleaning Imaging Sensor
  • Optional Canon EG-E1 Extension Grip
  • No IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilizer)
  • No LCD coatings
  • RF Lens Mount, Compatible with EF/EF-S/TS-E/MP-E Lenses with Adapter
  • Compact, Lightweight, and Relatively Affordable price

While the RF mount specification may seem trivial (all interchangeable lens cameras have a mount), this mount is a big deal, especially to the lens engineers. The RF mount retains the large 54mm inner diameter advantage of the EF mount (for reference, the Nikon Z mount has a similar 55mm diameter, the Nikon F-mount is only 44mm, and the Sony E mount is 46.1mm), maintaining the rigidity, durability, strength, and ultra-wide aperture support a large-diameter mount provides while reducing the flange back distance (distance from the back of the lens's mount to the imaging sensor) from 44mm to 20mm.

The RF mount supports optical designs that are potentially smaller than possible with the EF mount and often include large-diameter rear-positioned elements that can feature a reduced angle of light rays in the image circle periphery. Bending light to a lesser degree can improve image quality, including better-corrected aberrations. The larger rear-element design of RF lenses also lends to a comfortable shape and weight balance. Improved camera-lens communication also increases performance, including instant feedback for enhanced in-lens image stabilization.

The lens is critical to the camera's overall performance, and Canon's RF lenses are impressive — reason alone to buy into the Canon EOS R-series cameras. Canon lens engineers remain excited about the performance the RF mount avails to them, and I was again told to expect great features and performance still to come.

Canon EOS R8 Angle

Sensor and Image Quality

Canon debuted an impressive new CMOS imaging sensor in the EOS R6 Mark II. Despite a $1,000.00 lower price, the EOS R8 gets the same sensor.

Sharing the same imaging sensor and DIGIC X processor (upgraded from the DIGIC 8 in the RP), the R8 and R6 II deliver the same image quality.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.4 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS R31.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.00µm6000 x 400024.1 .76x100%f/9.7
Canon EOS R51.0x36.0 x 24.0mm4.39µm8192 x 546445.0 .76x100%f/7.1
Canon EOS R6 Mark II1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.00µm6000 x 400024.2 .76x100%f/9.6
Canon EOS R61.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.56µm5472 x 364820.1 .76x100%f/10.6
Canon EOS R71.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.20µm6960 x 464032.5 100%f/5.2
Canon EOS R81.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.00µm6000 x 400024.2.70x100%DLA
Canon EOS R101.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS R501.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2.95x100%DLA
Canon EOS R1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.3 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS RP1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm5.75µm6240 x 416026.2 .70x100%f/9.3
Sony a7C1.0x35.6 x 23.8mm5.9µm6000 x 400024.2 .59x100%f/9.6
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)
View the full Canon EOS R8 specifications to compare additional cameras.

The 24 megapixel resolution remains relatively low for full-frame MILC cameras, but not everyone needs ultra-high resolution. Many professional photographers today use 24 MP cameras, such as the EOS R3, or lower resolution to be adequate for their needs, including for full-page and double-page magazine spreads. Positive is that the large photosites on this full-frame imaging sensor produce very low noise at high ISO settings.

The large size of full-frame imaging sensors is a big deal, capturing vast amounts of light and enabling a differentiatingly strong background blur.

To save days of testing, the R6 Mark II test results will illustrate the R8 image quality in this discussion.

The first R-series camera, the EOS R, has a higher-resolution imaging sensor. However, as seen in the Canon EOS R8 vs. Canon EOS R resolution comparison, the R8 is producing a sharper image, with better detail rendering. The R produces softer images than many other Canon cameras when the images are processed using the same settings. Why? That question remains unanswered. Are the RAW images de-tuned slightly, providing more latitude for the photographer to dial in their desired sharpness? Does the R have a stronger low-pass filter? Or, is there some other cause? Regardless, the EOS R8 delivers very sharp results.

Here are the Canon EOS R8 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS R8 vs. Canon EOS 6D Mark II comparisons.

As with all Canon EOS cameras, the R8 imaging sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Optionally (mandatory when using an EF-S lens on the adapter), a 1.6x crop can be selected. Other aspect ratios available are 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.

The R8 has ISO 100-102400 available in 1/3-stop increments with expansion down to 50 and up to 204800. Despite the camera's available ISO range, the usable settings within that range are what really matter. I immediately dismiss the highest settings as having a too-low SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio).

The Kodak color block test chart results provide an in-depth look at R8 noise.

Canon EOS R8 ISO Noise Comparison

Important to understand is that the site's "Standard" color block noise test results include no noise reduction – a critical factor that may cause the results to appear dissimilar to those seen elsewhere. Since noise reduction can be applied to any image during post-processing, what matters most to me, what differentiates cameras, is how clean the base RAW images are. While noise reduction can improve an image, noise reduction can be (and usually is) destructive to fine detail. My strategy is to apply light noise reduction during RAW image post-processing only when needed. The Canon RAW-captured noise test images were processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) with the Standard Picture Style (moderate contrast) and Sharpness = "1" (0-10 scale).

When using the comparison feature of the site's camera noise tool, let your eyes tell you the results. If you can't readily pick out the difference in any color block comparison, it is unlikely that you will be able to recognize the difference in real-world results.

The base ISO setting (ISO 100 with the current EOS models) is always my preferred setting for very clean, low-noise results. Not all situations accommodate ISO 100; noise increases as ISO settings go up, and the R8 delivers excellent image quality at very significantly higher settings, as expected from a current-technology full-frame imaging sensor.

At ISO 800, noise becomes just perceptible in smooth-colored areas of the frame. By ISO 3200, you will notice some noise, though I find ISO 3200 images very usable. Noise levels at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 become increasingly discernable, but ... these images are still decent with some noise reduction added, especially when viewed at less than 100% resolution. ISO 25600 image noise reaches ugly status, with significant noise reduction and reduced final output size being keys to this setting's usability. Results from settings over ISO 25600 have low usability.

Comparing same-size imaging sensors, the lower the resolution, the larger the photosites. Larger pixel wells can collect photons at a higher rate than smaller ones (like a larger bucket in the rain), generating a higher SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio), resulting in lower noise levels. Therefore, expect a low-resolution imaging sensor to deliver lower pixel-level noise than an ultra-high-resolution imaging sensor from a similar technology generation.

However, the final output size is what matters in the real world. A higher resolution image reduced to match a lower resolution has the advantage of oversampling, having more data to derive the result from, and generally delivers equal performance at comparable output size.

As mentioned, noise reduction makes a big difference in the results, but subject details are impacted by noise reduction. There is a smoothness vs. detail tradeoff, and the amount of noise reduction ideally applied to an image is not necessarily dependent on the ISO setting alone. You may find that some subjects take noise reduction better than others, and applying stronger noise reduction to only the background is a great post-processing strategy.

All of Canon's EOS cameras provide a wide range of noise reduction, sharpness, and other image quality setting adjustments, enabling you to dial the results into perfection. That these settings can be adjusted in-camera is particularly important for those requiring compressed JPG format images right out of the camera (without using the camera's own RAW image conversion capabilities).

Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR) is one of the additional in-camera options available in many of the latest EOS models, including the R8. MSNR merges information from multiple (four) exposures taken in a full-frame rate burst into a reduced noise image. The concept makes a lot of sense. MSNR generally provides a remarkable one or two stops of noise reduction, but ... I still have not found a compelling use for this feature.

The downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output (I would like to see this feature added to Canon's Digital Photo Pro software for RAW capture processing – perhaps as another HDR preset). Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is not so useful with moving subjects (or with a moving camera). Long exposure NR, Dust Delete Data, Multiple Exposure, and HDR Mode must be set to off to enable MSNR. The R8 reverts to Standard NR in Auto/Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode, and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. After the four-shot burst is captured, the camera remains "busy" while processing the merged image. So, while this feature is a good idea, its limitations make it less useful in real-world applications. I am far more likely to use a low ISO setting with a longer exposure when shooting stationary subjects from a tripod.

MSNR might be a good option when handholding the camera in very low light levels is the only option.

The R8's image sensor's dynamic range is quite good. The R8 example below shows an overexposed shirt and the minus three stops adjusted image.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Dynamic Range Example

Notice that the white fabric details are still present.

The "Exposed * EV" result sets results in the noise tool were intentionally over or underexposed at capture and adjusted to the standard brightness during post-processing. These results are similar to getting the exposure wrong during capture, increasing the brightness of shadow details, or recovering highlight details.

In general, underexposing an image results in increased noise in the adjusted image, and shadow details may be lost. The concern with overexposing an image is that highlight detail can be lost.

The EOS R8 test results show that underexposing by 3 stops results in very little (if any) noise penalty vs. using the correct 3-stop-higher ISO setting for the capture, even at high ISO settings.

Overexposing an image reduces noise, and that technique is advantageous until the highlights become clipped, with unrecoverable details. In the +1 EV ISO 50 results, we see this extended setting's lower dynamic range being slightly exceeded in some channels. Most other ISO settings have few negative consequences at +1 EV. At +2 EV, highlights are modestly clipped at ISO 100. This performance compares well against the EOS R6, though the R8's yellow block appears a bit brighter.

More is always better in terms of dynamic range (exposure latitude), but Canon's imaging sensors have long provided sufficient headroom for most needs. It is interesting to compare the Canon EOS R8 to the Sony a7 IV using the +3 EV-captured results. The bright yellow Sony block is orange, but the Sony camera shows advantages in other colors.

The R8 shifts from 14-bit to 12-bit capture in electronic shutter mode (more later). While the noise in 12-bit images appears similar to that of 14-bit images at the exposed brightness, 12-bit image noise levels are increased in brightened images.

Like many other recent Canon cameras, the R8 supports HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording. Your first question is likely, "What is HDR PQ?" HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) is a new gamma curve based on the characteristics of human eyesight. It supports HDR recording at ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ).

Your next question is likely, "What is HEIF?" HEIF stands for "High Efficiency Image File Format," a standard created by the MPEG group. As with JPEG, HEIF is a file format used to store image data after the image development process is complete. While JPEG files use an 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 lossy compression scheme, HEIF uses a 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy), complying with the ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard. HEIF provides up to 4x more precision in image data gradation and a wider color range than sRGB and Adobe RGB can store. HEIF files are containers, able to store multiple images (typically compressed with a codec such as HEVC (H.265)) along with image derivations (cropping, rotation), media streams (timed text, audio), depth information, image sequences (like a burst of images, supports animation), image data (EXIF), and more. Huge is that, thanks in part to computing power improvements, HEIF files are compressed to a significantly smaller size than JPEG files, about 50% smaller at similar quality levels. Along with all of the other benefits, Apple migrating to HEIF from JPEG means we can expect this standard to take hold in the industry.

Per Canon, "HEIF files are intended to be viewed on HDR-compliant displays and monitors."

The Activate HEVC codec option is available in the DPP help menu, and once selected, the Canon HEVC Activator is downloaded (camera serial number required). Once that app was installed, DPP understood the .HIF file format and the HDR PQ images look remarkably good (including those captured in RAW format). I was not planning to share the results of this testing, and the scene is of low photogenic quality with unstable lighting, but ... I thought the camera's performance warranted sharing with you. The following are downsized screen captures (at review time, Photoshop cannot open .HIF files). Look closely at the outdoor brightness while the indoor blacks retain detail (that detail is more obvious in the full-size images) as illustrated by the 1D X III.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III HDR PQ

HTP refers to the Highlight Tone Priority feature included in EOS models for a very long time.

No lens is perfect, and lens aberration correction can be helpful in that regard. I shoot in RAW format nearly 100% of the time and prefer to make such corrections during post-processing. For those not using RAW format, in-camera lens corrections are important (including for movie recording). Lens corrections available in the EOS R8 during image capture are peripheral illumination, distortion, chromatic aberration, and diffraction along with a DLO (Digital Lens Optimizer) feature. Note that DLO enabled can slow down processing.

Overall, like the R6 Mark II, the R8 delivers the outstanding full-frame Canon CMOS image quality we've come to expect.

Canon EOS R8 Environmental Portrait

The Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens and EOS R8 produce jaw-dropping imagery.

In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)

In this case, achieving the target light weight, small size, and low-cost required foregoing in-camera image stabilization.

While the EOS R8 does not have IBIS, many of RF lenses feature optical stabilization.

Here, the Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens's IS assists with a 1/13 second handheld portrait. All handheld images from this session were sharp.

Canon EOS R8 Memory Card Door Open

File Size and Media

The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup featuring a moderately-high amount of detail. Again, the R8 numbers reflect R6 II performance.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV(30.4)38.839.139.640.441.643.545.548.051.455.159.8 
Canon EOS R3(24.1)29.330.330.831.932.733.835.2.36.938.840.944.244.5
Canon EOS R3 CRAW(24.1)16.116.817.218.218.819.719.919.318.918.719.818.2
Canon EOS R5(45.0)51.653.153.655.657.760.163.066.470.575.179.5 
Canon EOS R5 CRAW(45.0)28.129.329.931.533.335.536.235.936.036.937.7 
Canon EOS R8(24.2)28.729.430.231.132.133.334.536.238.240.343.043.2
Canon EOS R8 CRAW(24.2)16.216.717.318.018.819.719.819.319.018.819.417.8
Canon EOS R6(20.1)24.124.724.925.626.427.328.429.831.433.335.535.9
Canon EOS R6 CRAW(20.1)13.814.214.514.915.616.416.416.015.715.816.114.8
Canon EOS R7(32.5)40.040.141.342.644.346.048.050.352.655.0  
Canon EOS R8(24.2)28.729.430.231.132.133.334.536.238.240.343.043.2
Canon EOS R8 CRAW(24.2)16.216.717.318.018.819.719.819.319.018.819.417.8
Canon EOS R10(24.2)29.029.830.831.833.334.936.037.739.741.8  
Canon EOS R(30.4)35.836.637.638.740.041.843.345.748.049.6*****
Canon EOS RP(26.2)30.731.332.032.834.035.537.139.041.543.445.8 
Sony a7 IV(30.0)43.143.444.144.946.147.750.052.555.958.660.764.6
Sony a7C(24.2)47.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.147.247.247.2
RAW file sizes increase with 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (more is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase) 4. Lack of compression. Memory and disk are cheap – buy more.

A Canon ISO 100 non-lossy-compressed RAW image file size can be estimated at 1.2MB per megapixel, a relatively compact size.

The EOS R8, like all other recent EOS camera models, has the .CR3 RAW format that enables features including C-RAW, compressed RAW with lossy compression vs. the normally compressed RAW with non-lossy compression. C-RAW provides full RAW file processing support, along with an approximately 40% file size reduction (43.6% in the above ISO 100 example) over Canon's already efficient RAW file format size. The math adds up quickly, significantly impacting both memory card and hard disk storage capacity requirements, increasing the camera's buffer capacity, and decreasing data transfer times. Check out the article: Should I Use Canon's CRAW Image File Format? for more information.

Unlike the R6 II, the Canon EOS R8 writes image files to a single SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot, still supporting the fast UHS-II standard. The bottom of the camera-located card slot shares an access door with the battery. While this location is less convenient than a dedicated side-of-the-camera slot access door, space and cost savings are realized by this design. Interesting is that the R8 and R50 use opposite card orientations (label front vs. label back) despite having the same card location.

This camera formats memory cards quickly.

Note that V60 or higher rated cards are required for 4K 60p 10bit movie recording.

There are memory card formats faster than SD available, but these cards are considerably more expensive. With 24 MP images resulting in modest file sizes and this format supporting 4K movie recording, SD format storage in the R8 was once again a good decision, especially from an economic perspective. SD memory cards are compact, relatively inexpensive, highly popular, and compatible with many cameras and card readers. Buy numerous high-capacity cards, and rotate through them, avoiding re-use until the image files they contain are adequately backed up, including an off-site copy or copies.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter

The Canon EOS R8 can capture up to 6 fps with the first curtain electronic shutter (the full mechanical shutter is not available). Considering some of the cameras being introduced today, 6 fps seems mundane. However, the EOS 5D Mark IV could only shoot 1 fps faster.

Switch to the full electronic shutter, and the R8 captures up to 40 fps, retaining full autofocus and autoexposure functionality. 40 fps second performance is impressive and adequate for nearly all purposes.

Sometimes the difference between an average image and a great one is separated by milliseconds, and this camera has the speed necessary to catch the perfect peak action moment. Daunting is selecting the best images from a shoot involving significant use of the 40-fps capability.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II and RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens BMX Stunt Sample Picture

Using 40 fps, the R6 II and Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens (with the help of a Breakthrough circular polarizer filter) captured the peak of this BMX stunt.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Surfing Sample Picture

The R6 II and Canon RF 400mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens with an RF 1.4x Extender behind it captured this crash.

Today, camera maximum frame rate determination is complicated by many variables. Here is the Canon EOS R8 drive mode and continuous shooting rate table:

Shutter/Drive ModeHi+HiLow
Electronic40205
Elec 1st Curtain663

These are up-to rates, with battery power level, battery type, lens model, Dual Pixel RAW shooting, temperature, shutter speeds, etc., potentially affecting the realized rate.

As first seen in the R7 and R10, the R8 features RAW burst mode (30 fps for up to approximately 158 frames), and, better still, Pre-Shooting.

Do you ever press the shutter release too late? Are you ever stressed about the potential of missing the bird taking flight shot? Did you ever wish you could capture a lightning strike (without a lightning trigger)? The R8 has your back in this regard.

With RAW Burst mode and Pre-Shooting enabled, 30 fps image capture is available for up to 0.5 seconds BEFORE the full shutter button press. That means up to 15 pre-shutter release shots are recorded during the shutter release half-press before fully pressing the shutter release.

RAW burst captures are contained in a single image. Thus, expect long memory card write times for a maximum burst.

Canon software is (currently) required to select and process RAW Burst mode and Pre-Shooting images from the single .CR3 file created. Also, note that the camera turns off RAW burst mode when powered off.

RAW and C-RAW files have 14-bit A/D conversion with the electronic 1st curtain shutter, and 12-bit A/D conversion is provided with the full electronic shutter. Is dropping to 12-bit a problem? While there is a psychological difference, the image quality difference will seldom be noticed in ideally exposed images. Reduced quality will show primarily in smooth gradients such as the sky when contrast is adjusted, and, as illustrated earlier in this review, noise levels increase in brightened images, especially in the shadows.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV7.0Full1758ms86ms
Canon EOS R312/3054015020-76ms0ms
Canon EOS R512/2035087/18050msn/a
Canon EOS R6 Mark II12/401,000+11050-84msn/a
Canon EOS R612/201,000+240 n/a
Canon EOS R715/30224/12651/4250-99msn/a
Canon EOS R86/401000+/1201000+/56  
Canon EOS R1015/23460/7029/2150-100msn/a
Canon EOS R5012/1542/287  
Canon EOS R2.2-810034/4750msn/a
Canon EOS RP4Full50/Full55msn/a
Sony a7 IV10Full1,000+  
Sony a7C10213+115+20ms 
View the full Canon EOS R8 specifications to compare additional cameras.

With the electronic first curtain shutter selected and a fast memory card inserted, the R8 is rated for over 1,000 continuous images without filling the buffer. Basically, at the relatively slow 6 fps rate, the camera writes to the card as fast as the data is captured from the imaging sensor. With a slow memory card, approximately 85 images fill the buffer. 85 divided by 6 still enables a long (14-second) burst.

Selecting the electronic shutter at 40 fps fills the buffer fast. Expect about 56 continuous shots when shooting with a fast card, an about-1.4-second burst. That 1.4 seconds will seem short in some action scenarios, and timing the shutter press for the peak action may be necessary.

When shooting in the smaller C-RAW file format, the 40 fps buffer increases nearly 2x to 100, adequate for a 2.5-second burst.

Looking at the frame rate, I want to emphasize this camera's ability to capture perfectly timed fast action. Want the BMX stunt bike tire framed inside the diffraction spikes of the sun? 40 fps can do that. This example was captured at 40 fps with the R6 II.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II 40 fps Frame Rate Example

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

Drag your mouse over the labels under the above image for a half-second look at the 40 fps rate. Yes, the BMX rider impressively landed this stunt and all of the many others he performed this morning. These images were Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens-captured.

With the full electronic shutter selected, this camera does not produce a shutter sound during image capture (though you might hear the aperture or other sounds). The electronic shutter is perfect for use during quiet events such as weddings, when photographing skittish wildlife, and during audio capture. The full electronic shutter has advantages and disadvantages.

At the top of the advantages list is that the full electronic shutter enables the fast 40 fps drive mode. With no mechanical shutter used, there are no moving parts, there is no shutter vibration, shutter failure is highly unlikely, and again, the camera operates in near silence.

With no sound or other haptic feedback, knowing precisely when the image is being captured can be problematic, and adding a "beep" is counter to the goal of the silent shutter. Canon handles this issue nicely, with a white frame appearing in the viewfinder the instant the image is captured.

Features disabled when the full electronic shutter is selected continue to be reduced, but some restrictions remain. For example, flash is not supported.

Additional downsides of an electronic shutter are related to the current technology line-by-line reading of the imaging sensor. Fast side-to-side subject or camera movement can result in an angular-shifted image with vertically straight lines becoming noticeably slanted (with the camera in horizontal orientation). Understand that the second curtain of a mechanical shutter chasing the first curtain can produce the same effect. Still, the difference between mechanical shutter (with electronic first curtain shutter, about 3ms) and electronic shutter performance in this regard has historically been big.

We saw the R3's fast imaging sensor readout drastically reducing, practically eliminating, this effect, but keeping the R8 affordable means a slower sensor readout. However, the R6 II and R8 exceeded my expectations. For a worst-case example, look at this college-level tennis player's racket at peak speed (100 mph?) during a serve. The R6 II and R8 have the same imaging sensor readout speed, and the next two examples were captured with the R6 II.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Electronic Shutter Example

The 40 fps continuous shooting rate routinely delivered ball-on-racket shots, including this one with the racket framed in the blue sky between the buildings. Here is the racket swing going the other direction across the sensor.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Electronic Shutter Example 2

The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens was used to capture these images.

The tennis racket retains a normal shape in both images despite its high speed. The Canon EOS R8's tested imaging sensor readout speed is 14.5ms (rolling shutter). Here is a table of imaging sensor readout speeds.

Model (times in ms)Electronic1st Curtain Mechanical
Canon EOS R516.33.5
Canon EOS R6 Mark II14.53.4
Canon EOS R729.22.4
Canon EOS R814.53.4
Canon EOS R1035.02.8
Canon EOS R5035.32.4
Sony a13.82.4
Sony Alpha 7R V99.33.5
Tested imaging sensor readout speeds are accurate to approximately +/- 0.2ms.

Certain light pulsing (including from others' flashes) can influence electronic shutter-captured results, creating troublesome banding. Here is an electronic shutter banding example:

Electronic Shutter Banding Example

Note that this image was captured at a fast 1/8000 sec. shutter speed and high 6400 ISO setting. However, the light source was a good quality battery-powered video light.

Defocused highlight bokeh circles can become clipped or truncated when using an electronic shutter.

As mentioned, the R8 features 12-bit vs. 14-bit capture in electronic shutter mode.

The R8's available shutter speeds are 1st Curtain Electronic: 30-1/4000 sec. (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Electronic: 30-1/16000 sec. (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments up to 1/8000 plus 1/16000 in Tv and M modes), Bulb (available range varies by shooting mode). Don't underestimate the value of the extreme 1/16000 sec. shutter speed, especially when avoiding overexposure when using ultra-wide-aperture lenses in bright light.

Flash X-Sync is 1/200 sec. using electronic 1st curtain. Flash exposure compensation is +/- 3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments.

The EOS R8 has a built-in Intervalometer (interval timer) and bulb timer functionality.

Autofocus

Getting great images requires high-precision focusing, and Canon's latest AF systems have changed the photography and videography games. These outstanding performing cameras, featuring incredible subject tracking and eye detection in conjunction with fast frame rates, make getting what used to be a trophy shot into a routine occurrence.

With the latest Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, the photographer is often freed to focus on composition and shutter release timing, letting the camera handle AF.

The R8 inherits the higher-end EOS R-series camera models' AF technology, including software algorithms.

Auto Subject Tracking was added in the R8 and carried over to the R8, watching for:

  • Subject near the center of the frame
  • Larger sized subject
  • Stable detection status
  • An entity that was the main subject in the previous frame
  • A person

The R8 also retains the ability to specify the left or right eye for Eye AF, with Auto remaining an option. It is unusual that I don't want the closer eye to be selected, but apparently, this feature was needed.

In Canon's most recent AF systems, including the R8's, People, Animals, or Vehicles can be specified. Canon's response to my asking why we had to select one (and remember to change it when necessary) was that the algorithm processing required this parameter for performance reasons. My questioning of the need for this setting was also answered with the R8's Auto option. Now, the camera can determine which subject type is in the frame.

New is that horses are specified as a tracked animal along with Dogs, Cats, and Birds (though many other animals are identified and tracked), and Trains and Aircraft are now specified along with Cars and Motorcycles in the Vehicles category.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM Lens Bird Sample Picture

Here, the R8 and RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM Lens consistently locked onto and tracked this great blue heron's eye, despite the close distance and erratic movement.

The EOS R8's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system features Spot AF (AF can be selected from 4897 available positions for stills, 4067 for Movies), 1-point AF, AF point Expansion 4 points (up, down, left, right), AF point Expansion surrounding (all surrounding points), Flexible Zone AF 1-3, and Whole Area AF (entire focusing area with 1053 maximum focusing zones). Note that, when enabled, subject tracking in Servo AF mode will take over the AF point selection once the subject is established. Turn off tracking to lock AF to the selected point or area.

AF coverage is up to approx. 100% x 100% of the frame, though coverage can vary depending on the lens used. Generally, only very narrow aperture lenses and lens plus extender combinations cause reduced coverage. Those coming from a DSLR will find the ability to maintain continuous focus with a point in the periphery of the image to be game-changing.

With the extreme number of focus points available on this camera, moving between individual focus points becomes challenging, including significant repetitive button pressing or holding.

Notably missing on the R8 is the joystick multi-controller.

The tap, touch, and drag AF touchscreen interface is a great R8 focus point selection option, enabling quick AF point movement throughout the frame.

I don't use manual AF area selection on EOS cameras nearly as frequently as I previously did due to the subject detection technology performing so well.

The R8 can AF at EV -6.5 – 21 (at 23°C & ISO100). EV -6.5 is crazy dark. This is not Canon's best-rated low-light focusing camera (the R3 goes to -7.5 EV), but it is nearly the best, and that performance is without aid from the AF assist lamp.

Located on the camera's right side is a bright LED focus assist lamp that extends AF capabilities into complete darkness within its very good range. The focus assist lamp typically clears the hand holding the camera, a notable feature because some camera models have a left-side AF assist lamp that shines directly into the left hand when using a normal shooting position. As a lens hood can partially block this light, hood removal is sometimes optimal depending on the focus point selected and the amount of reflected assist light available for the selected point.

The R8 focuses very fast, and this advanced AF system is suitable for practically all pursuits.

For those choosing between Sony and Canon MILCs, note that the Canon does not defocus the lens before focusing in One Shot AF mode. Especially because of this design difference, Canon's One Shot AF lock time is faster than the current Sony camera models.

Most review-time-current sensor-based AF systems, including that of the R8, do not provide cross-sensitive AF point technology. As a result, this camera may struggle to focus on only perfectly horizontally oriented lines of contrast. That said, I seldom encounter this issue with any R-series cameras, and rolling the camera slightly until focused will usually resolve this AF lock issue.

AF calculations made directly on the imaging sensor (vs. on a separate sensor in a DSLR), AF calibration becomes a greatly reduced issue. EOS R8 AF accuracy is especially excellent, very reliably precisely focusing shot after shot, even with the Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens mounted and opened wide.

With imaging sensor-based AF, this camera can be expected to focus consistently accurately, even with third-party lenses. Using the imaging sensor for AF enables the mirrorless advantage features such as precise eye and subject tracking — a DSLR will rarely focus on an eye behind obstructions, but this camera often will.

Canon's AF Case settings are provided. AF tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking, One-Shot AF release priority, and AF point auto switching can be independently adjusted, enabling autofocus performance to be dialed in to your needs. AF Case A (Auto) is the default, instructing the camera to analyze the scene and optimize the settings in real-time. This AF system performs superbly in the Auto setting for most uses, leaving another challenging setup to the camera's judgment.

With RF-mount lenses utilizing electronic focus only, a variable adjustment rate manual focus ring can be implemented. With such lenses, turning the focus ring quickly adjusts focus distances fast, and turning the ring slowly enables precise adjustment. The variable rate manual focusing can be advantageous if properly implemented. Still, I often find the difference in rotation rates to be too similar, and the variable speed becomes a frustration, making rocking the focus ring into precise focus a challenge. An R8 menu option enables linear manual focus adjustments.

Canon EOS R5 Focus Bracketing

Focus Bracketing was a very useful feature first provided in the Canon EOS RP, the R5 (the source of this sample picture), and now multiple additional cameras. Now found in the R8, this feature has more details to be understood, and the Canon Focus Bracketing page takes on this topic.

Canon's latest AF systems are outstanding performers.

Movies

The R8 features uncropped movies up to 4K UHD 60 fps (6K oversampling, 10-bit), and FHD 180 fps.

Cropped movies up to 4K UHD 60 fps, and FHD 60 fps are supported.

Canon EOS R8 Movie Specifications:
Container Format: MP4
Bit depth: 8 or 10 bit
Compression: H.264 / MPEG-4 or AVC H.265 / HEVC
Color Sampling Method: YCbCr 4:2:0 YCbCr 4:2:2
Standards Compliance: Rec. ITU-R BT.709 or Rec. ITU-R BT.2100
Color Gamut: Rec.709, Rec.2020, or Cinema Gamut
Audio: Linear PCM / AAC

Movie sizes are:
4K UHD (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98fps) inter frame (IPB) / (IPB Light)
4K UHD Timelapse (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I)
Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (179.82, 150, 119.88, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98fps) inter frame (IPB) / (IPB Light)
Full HD Timelapse (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I)
Full HD HDR (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I)

Canon Log 3 and cropped recording are available. The max recording duration is 2 hours (with exclusions, including power and storage limitations).

New with the R6 II and again available in the R8 is 3- or 5-second prerecording, capturing action occurring before the movie start button is pressed. This feature is incredibly useful for capturing moments requiring careful timing, such as a bird taking flight, lightning, etc.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with subject and eye detection and tracking is available during movie recording. 5-axis Movie Digital IS aims to steady video recording, especially big movements, and coordinates with in-lens optical image stabilization.

With movie mode now selectable via a switch, the mode dial makes a full range of exposure modes readily available for movie recording. Helpful is that the camera remembers video settings separately from still settings and presents the logical menu options based on the Photo/Movie switch position.

R8 heat limitations are minor, with a duration of 30 minutes or more for full width 6K oversampled 4K 60p video. Drop to 4K 30p for no overheating limitation.

Zebra and false color display are available and especially useful for movie exposure control.

Additional features available include:

  • Vertical Video Metadata
  • Movie Self Timer
  • Audio Noise Reduction
  • UVC/UAC Support, for USB livestreaming
  • Recording Emphasis
  • Aspect Markers

If you have read any of the site's lens reviews using the current format, you understand that most lenses have focus breathing. The angle of view changes, usually a modest amount, as focus is racked between extents. While the subject framing can usually be adjusted (if necessary) for still photos, the scene change is not welcome when racking focus during filming.

The EOS R8 supports focus breathing correction during movie recording. As the current RF lenses do not have a motorized zoom feature, cropping is the available correction mechanism. RF lenses released before the R8 may require a firmware update to support this feature.

Overall, the R8's video quality is excellent. R8 movies exhibit a relatively low rolling shutter effect, and the 4k output is outstanding.

Exposure/Metering System

As usual for EOS cameras, the R8 has 384 zone (24x16) metering that works superbly, and the R8's metering range specification is EV -3 – 20 (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100).

EOS R metering modes include Evaluative metering (AF point-linked), Partial metering (approx. 5.9% of the area at the center of the screen), Spot metering (approx. 3.0% of the area at the center of the screen), and Center-weighted average metering. Exposure compensation is +/-3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments. Auto exposure bracketing uses those same numbers with 2, 3, 5, or 7 shots available.

Related to metering is Canon's Anti-flicker mode, a feature that has migrated to the EOS R8. This mode is a game-changer when photographing under flickering lights, especially when photographing fast action. The R8 also features HF (High Frequency) anti-flicker shooting for M and Tv modes, a feature first seen in the R3.

Viewfinder and LCD

The EOS R8 has a compact 0.39" (9.9mm) OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) EVF (Electronic Viewfinder), with an appropriate 2.36 million dot resolution.

The R8 EVF features a 100% view and 0.70x magnification, and it has good contrast and color. This EVF has a 22mm-high eyepoint design, and the dioptric adjustment of -4 to +1 facilitates viewfinder use without glasses. OVF simulation is available.

Video feed lag, with the 120 fps refresh rate, is not an issue for most uses.

An EVF makes a configurably-vast amount of information available for display (up to 41 items) and also makes that information rotatable, ideal for shooting in vertical orientation. A quality EVF makes reviewing images easy, especially when zooming in for sharpness verification, especially in bright daylight, and especially for eyes that otherwise require corrective optics (if you don't need glasses now, expect to need them at some point).

A feature I heavily rely on is an electronic level, and all full-functioned current-design cameras have this feature. The R6 II and R8's upgraded level is excellent, featuring a reduced viewfinder presence (less subject obscuring) and ideal tuning.

Canon EOS R8 LCD Open

The EOS R8 features Canon's 2.95" (7.50cm) Clear View LCD II, featuring approx. 1,620K dot Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD. The Vari-angle feature of this LCD permits rotation of nearly 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, making hard-to-get shots and unique perspectives (including selfies and vlogging) easy to capture.

Canon EOS R8 LCD Open Front

While this is not Canon's highest-resolution LCD display, the image quality is good. Anti-smudge coating is not applied, making this LCD modestly more difficult to clean than models featuring this coating. Anti-reflection coating is also not applied.

Canon's touchscreens make changing camera settings easy, including via the always excellent Canon menu structure and the handy "Q" button (showing the Quick Control screen).

Tour of the Canon EOS R8

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that the R8 looks like the RP. Here is that visual comparison (the R8 is on the left):

Canon EOS R8 Compared to Canon EOS RP

The primary RP to R8 changes are the power switch moving to the lock switch, the old power switch becoming a stills/movie mode selector, and the mode dial options changing slightly.

To visually compare the Canon EOS R8 with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool.

Those familiar with Canon's R-series cameras will find the R8 requiring little acclimation, while those moving to the R series from a DSLR model should expect a learning curve. No worries, because this learning curve is relatively short and totally worth the effort.

Canon EOS R8 Back

Back of the Camera

The R8's back of the camera features are somewhat limited compared to the higher-end models. Advanced photographers will wish for a joystick and a rear control dial surrounding the cross keys.

The latter feature should have been included in this camera, reducing the need to use the touch screen or lens control ring. Even the Canon EOS M5's small rear control dial was useful and easy to use. That said, the 4-way cross keys controller is easy to use.

The Set button, located in the center of the cross keys, acts as the "Q" Quick control button in shooting mode, making commonly used features readily available.

I often complain that Canon R-series camera's flush-mounted buttons are hard to tactilely locate and press, especially when wearing gloves. The R8 buttons have slight plastic depth changes behind them or near them, but improvements could be made in this regard.

I often want to know if an image I just captured is sharp. Pressing the playback button and then the zoom button are my go-to steps, but the default zoom button feels awkwardly positioned.

While I already discussed the Vari-angle rear LCD, note how flushly it mounts, tucking into the back of the camera, and also note the recessed portion of the camera back that enables it to be easily pulled out. The LCD can be stowed in reversed orientation, providing greater protection.

The back view shows the compact viewfinder aiding the R8's small dimensions. The left-side diopter adjustment is awkward to use due to the nose getting in the way.

Canon EOS R8 Body Top

Top of the Camera

As mentioned, a few changes are seen on the top of the R8 (vs. the RP).

The Power Switch moved from the camera's left side to the right, where it should be, facilitating fast and easy access by the hand holding the camera. Pick up the camera and power it on simultaneously, with only one hand needed. Also, very positive is the provision of a switch to change the camera settings between still photos and movies, recalling the last-used settings for each.

Highly unfortunate to those of us acclimated to and simultaneously using the EOS RP (and R5 and R6) is that the new Photo/Movie Switch has the same position as and a similar shape to the old power switch. I frequently switched the R8 into movie mode before putting it in the bag only to find the stills settings not working properly when attempting to use the camera again. This mistake can also impact battery life.

Obvious from the top view is that the viewfinder provides adequate nose relief from the LCD.

Next to the right of the viewfinder is the mode dial. The R-series models without a top LCD have a dedicated mode dial. This dial is prominently-featured for easy right-thumb access, and with a non-locking design, mode changes are a quick swipe of the thumb away, even when the camera is powered off. The mode dial and other top-of-the-camera dials are somewhat flush-mounted, protected from impact damage.

Even with Movie mode removed, the R8's mode dial still has 12 modes.

The EOS R8, as usual, has a fully automatic point-and-shoot mode. Complete beginners can open the box, charge and install the battery, insert a memory card, and select the green A+ fully automatic Scene Intelligent Auto mode to have a camera ready to go, taking care of everything for point-and-shoot simplicity. This mode is simple from the user's perspective, but it is far from simple from a technological standpoint as it uses powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver excellent results in various situations.

Included modes are Canon's standard Fv, P, Av, Tv, M, and Bulb modes, along with three convenient custom modes. Also included on this dial are Hybrid Auto (captures a movie 2-4 seconds before the photo is taken, similar to the older Movie Digest Scene modes that captured video and stills together), SCN (Special Scene Mode), and Creative Filters. SCN contains the creative modes, including Portrait, Group, Landscape, Panoramic Shot (new), Sports, Kids, Panning, Close-up, Food, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control, and Silent.

Toward the top of the right side are the shutter release and top dial, features very similar in function and orientation as Canon's other EOS DSLRs and MILCs.

Between the shutter release and top dial is the M-Fn button. Pressing the M-Fn button enables the last-used function to be changed using a dial. Pressing M-FN repeatedly steps through the settings enabled for this feature, with again, a dial being used to change the setting selected. The R6 II and R8 have two rows of features available and independently changed using the top dial and rear dial. While a bit more complicated than the single row design, the dual rows design provides more options at the ready.

The top Quick Control dial lacks markings, making it available for a variety of functions as is logical.

The red Movie start and stop button provides logically positioned instant access to video recording.

The Lock feature, now incorporated in the Power Switch, prevents settings changes as configured in the Tools menu Multi-function lock option. I don't use the lock feature and would rather it not be an extra stop on the power switch.

Canon EOS R8 Right Side

Side of the Camera

The left side of the EOS R8 (as viewed from behind) features USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2 for computer communication, smartphone communication, USB power), HDMI (HDMI Micro out Type D), Headphone socket (3.5mm stereo mini jack), RS-60E3-type remote control terminal (Canon 2.5mm Sub-mini), and External Microphone In (3.5mm Stereo mini jack) ports.

Canon EOS R8 Left Side

The camera's right side is featureless.

Canon EOS R8 Body

Front of the Camera

The front of the R8 features only the basics, including the lens release button, stereo mics, AF assist lamp, and R8 badge.

Size of the Camera

What is Canon's smallest and lightest full-frame R-series camera? The EOS R8 would be that answer, and small size and light weight are reasons alone to opt for this camera. The R8 dimensions are essentially the same as the RP, and the R8 is slightly lighter.

When looking for opportunity to save space in camera design, the grip, typically dimensionally protruding more than any other physical feature, is an easy target. However, if one spends much time with a camera in hand, grip ergonomics are critically important and a too-small grip becomes, literally, a pain.

While designing the EOS R, Canon engineers performed extensive hand size research and the result was great. With the RP reduced in size from the R, I feared that the grip would be sacrificed, but fortunately, it was not. The RP and now R8 provision adequate space for fingertips, and the grip affords good control and comfort. From a height perspective, my pinky does not fit on this grip, but it comfortably slides under the body (I'll share about the accessory that accommodates the pinky later in the review).

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)31.4 oz (890g)
Canon EOS R35.9 x 5.6 x 3.4"(150 x 142.6 x 87.2mm)35.8 oz (1015g)
Canon EOS R55.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.0mm)26.0 oz (738g)
Canon EOS R6 Mark II5.5 x 3.9 x 3.5"(138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4mm)23.6 oz (670g)
Canon EOS R65.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.4mm)24.0 oz (680g)
Canon EOS R75.2 x 3.6 x 3.6"(132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm)21.6 oz (612g)
Canon EOS R85.2 x 3.4 x 2.8"(132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0mm)16.2 oz. (461g)
Canon EOS R104.8 x 3.5 x 3.3"(122.5 x 87.8 x 83.4mm)15.1 oz (429g)
Canon EOS R504.6 x 3.4 x 2.7"(116.3 x 85.5 x 68.8mm)13.3 oz. (375g)
Canon EOS R5.4 x 3.9 x 3.3"(135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm)23.4 oz (660g)
Canon EOS RP5.2 x 3.4 x 2.8"(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm)17.3 oz (485g)
Sony Alpha 7 IV5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1" (131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm)23.0 oz (650g)
Sony Alpha 7C4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4"(124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm)18.0 oz (509g)
View the full Canon EOS R8 specifications to compare additional cameras.

If dimensions are everything to you, the R50 or Sony Alpha 7C might have a stronger appeal. However, the R8's extra length accounts for the much better grip.

Consistent with Canon EOS designs are the rounded edges of this camera, providing comfortable handling and a modern, sleek appearance.

Ergonomics, Build Quality, and Durability

All of Canon's EOS models are well-built, including the R8.

The EOS R8 has a magnesium alloy chassis, providing a rigid and protective yet lightweight structure for the camera. The dials are grippy with a quality feel and good haptic feedback. The buttons work as you expect them to.

While the EOS R8 does not have the level of weather-resistance of cameras designed for advanced photographers, this camera has some weather resistance. Gaskets and seals are provided around many of the buttons, and the body seams have a precise fit, both minimizing the risk of dust, dirt, and especially moisture-induced problems.

I recommend using a rain cover (for all cameras) when dust and moisture are expected, but weather sealing can be a save-the-day or trip feature when unplanned wetness happens.

With no full mechanical shutter available, the R8 cannot close the shutter when powered down as other R-series cameras do (but not including the RP).

Additional Features

Useful is that the R8 can directly plug into a phone using an MFI-certified cable.

Wireless LAN (IEEE802.11b/g/n) (2.4 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 support are provided. Connect to EOS Utility or a Smartphone.

Easily transfer images and movies to compatible mobile devices (and then to social media) using Canon's free Camera Connect app (iOS | Android). With lots of potential awaiting development, this app provides some remote control of the camera's settings and shutter when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via Wi-Fi.

Utilizing this camera's Bluetooth capability is the Canon BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote. Want to be part of your own family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord when using a tripod? This is an accessory you may want.

The EOS R8 has a Digital tele-conv menu option, with 2x or 4x settings available (for JPG images only).

The R8 features a self-cleaning sensor.

Battery

Batteries are dense, and creating a small, light, and affordable camera typically involves a small battery. Logically, Canon again used the Canon LP-E17 Battery for the R8. Great is that many EOS camera models utilize the same battery. Not as great is that a small battery size equates to reduced capacity, and the R8 has an underwhelming battery life rating.

The R8's battery life rating:

Power Saving: LCD Approx. 370 shots, Viewfinder Approx. 220 shots
Smooth: LCD Approx. 290 shots, Viewfinder Approx. 150 shots (at 23°C)

Few are going to be excited by these numbers, but real-life experience usually yields considerably better results. On a busy day of shooting (no continuous burst shooting), I drained two batteries.

This tiny battery takes up very little space in the camera bag or your pocket, and it is advisable to always have at least one spare along.

The EOS R8 provides a 4-level battery indicator.

The EOS R8 camera is compatible with the USB Power Adapter PD-E1 (not all cables and power sources are compatible) for in-camera charging (not powering the camera) via the USB-C port. A friend shared some of his trial-and-error experience, with results seeming to suggest that a power source with a capacity of 5 Volts at 3 Amps (or higher) and a true USB Type-C connection (not a USB Type-B to USB Type-C cable) are required. Also compatible and power-related are the AC Adapter AC-E6N, AC Adapter Kit ACK-E18 and DC Coupler DR-E18.

Canon EOS RP with EG-E1 Extension Grip

Dedicated Accessories

While the EOS R8's grip is very well-designed, the small size means that my right pinky slides under the camera body. I don't mind this, but for those who want the added support of the pinky aiding in camera control, there is the Canon EG-E1 Extension Grip (shown above on the RP) offered in black, red or blue colors. Buy all three and use the color that fits the mood of the event.

The built-in thumbscrew makes installing and removing the grip very easy and when installed, the grip is solid and comfortable. For installation, the camera's battery door must be removed (an easy task), with a door on the grip providing access to the battery. Canon's accessory grips usually provide a safe, convenient place to store the door, but I did not notice this feature on the EG-E1.

Canon EG-E1 Extension Grip Cover Open

A threaded tripod insert is provided on the bottom of the camera. The EG-E1 is not a battery grip, and no provision for additional battery capacity is provided for this camera.

What is the Best Lens for the Canon EOS R8?

The lens matters, and the growing Canon RF Lens lineup is impressive. Most will want to start their R8 kit with a Canon RF general-purpose lens.

The EOS R8 is optionally available in a kit with the compact, lightweight, and affordable Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens.

The RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens offers a significantly longer zoom range, yet is still relatively compact, lightweight, and affordable, making it another good general-purpose zoom lens choice for the R8.

Those looking for the next level of image quality should consider the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens. This high-performing, professional-grade lens is the ideal general-purpose/standard zoom option for a large percentage of photographers.

Those requiring a wider aperture should consider the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens. The f/2.8 lens yields some focal length range advantage to the 24-105 and is larger, heavier, and pricier. However, with the f/2.8 aperture, this lens permits 2x as much light to reach the imaging sensor, it can create a stronger background blur, and it can create stronger sunstars.

Again, the Canon RF Lens lineup is impressive, featuring many options for varied needs.

Via one of the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS Rs, ranging from relatively low to rather high-priced, Canon EF, TS-E, and MP-E lenses become compatible and perform as native (with potential added benefits depending on the adapter model selected). EF-S lenses are also supported via the adapter, easing the transition from APS-C to full-frame for some. The EOS R8 will automatically use its crop mode when EF-S lenses are used, presenting a quality experience.

Canon's EF-M lenses are not compatible with the RF mount, even with the adapter, and because of their shorter flange back distance, it is unlikely that we will see a Canon option to support this combination.

Next, minimally add a telephoto zoom lens and a wide-angle zoom lens to your kit.

Price

For most of us, price is a strong factor affecting our camera purchase decisions, and R8's low price is going to favor strongly into purchase decisions. This camera is a bargain for such a powerful full-frame model.

Wrap Up

Keeping a review of the incredibly feature-laden Canon EOS R8 concise but complete is a difficult balance to find, and this review is not a complete description of every feature available. Canon will publish an intimidatingly long but well-designed owner's manual (a link to the manual will be provided at the beginning of this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera, explaining their use. Read the manual, use the camera, repeat.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support, and the support provided by Canon USA (minimally) is excellent. When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with my question or problem. Although I seldom need Canon repair service, it is fast and reliable.

The production Canon EOS R8 camera used for this review was on loan from Canon USA.

Alternatives to the Canon EOS R8

Is the EOS R8 the right camera for you? The answer to this question is going to be yes for a considerable number of people.

The R8 looks like the Canon EOS RP, so it seems logical to compare these two models.

Check out the EOS R8 vs. EOS RP specification comparison along with the visual comparison of these cameras. What are the differences between the Canon EOS R8 and the 4-year-older EOS RP? Here are the R8 advantages:

  • Far more advanced AF system
  • Wider AF working range (EV -6.5 to 21 vs. EV -5 to 18)
  • DIGIC X vs. DIGIC 8
  • The R8's 24.2 MP imaging sensor out resolves the RP's higher 26.2 MP results
  • Up to 40 fps continuous shooting with AF tracking vs. 4 fps
  • RAW Burst Mode with 0.5-second Pre-Shooting
  • Up to 1/16000 shutter speeds vs. 1/4000
  • 1/200 X-sync vs. 1/180
  • Full-width 4k 60p downsampled 6k movies with Canon Log 3 vs. cropped 4k 24p
  • Full HD 180p vs. 60p
  • 3- or 5-second Movie Prerecording
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 vs. USB 2.0
  • Power switch moved to right side and dedicated stills/movie switch added
  • ISO 204800 vs. ISO 102400 (irrelevant)

Here are the RP's advantages:

  • Lower price

While lower price is a solid advantage, the R8 is a far more advanced and easily justified choice.

Let's look at the Canon EOS R next.

Check out the EOS R8 vs. EOS R specification comparison along with the visual comparison of these cameras. Here are the Canon EOS R8 advantages over the R:

  • Far more advanced AF system
  • Slightly wider AF working range (EV -6.5 to 21 vs. EV -6 to 18)
  • DIGIC X vs. DIGIC 8
  • The R8's 24.2 MP imaging sensor out resolves the R's higher 30.4 MP results
  • Up to 40 fps continuous shooting with AF tracking vs. 5 fps
  • Deeper continuous shooting buffer (56 vs. 47)
  • RAW Burst Mode with 0.5-second Pre-Shooting
  • Up to 1/16000 shutter speed vs. 1/8000
  • 1/200 X-sync vs. 1/180
  • Full-width 4k 60p downsampled 6k movies with Canon Log 3 vs. cropped 4k 30p with Canon Log
  • Full HD 180p vs. 120p
  • 3- or 5-second Movie Prerecording
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 vs. USB 3.0
  • Power switch moved to right side and dedicated stills/movie switch added
  • ISO 204800 vs. ISO 102400 (irrelevant)
  • Smaller: 5.22 x 3.39 x 2.76" vs. 5.35 x 3.87 x 3.32" (132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0mm vs. 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm)
  • Lighter: 16.3 oz vs. 23.3 oz (461 vs. 660g)
  • Less Expensive (until the current EOS R discount is factored in)

The EOS R has some advantages:

  • Larger 0.5" (12.7mm) OLED color EVF, with 3.69 Million dots and 0.76x magnification vs. 0.39" (9.9mm) OLED color EVF, with 2.36 Million dots and 0.70x magnification
  • Larger 3.15" (8.01cm) LCD vs. 2.95" (7.50cm), with 2.10 vs. 1.62 million dots
  • Top LCD vs. no
  • Has a programmable Multi-Function Bar with touch interface
  • Battery Grip BG-E22 available vs. extension grip
  • Larger LP-E6N Battery Pack
  • Less Expensive (after the current EOS R discount is factored in)
  • UHS-II compatible SD memory card slot (but far shallower continuous shooting buffer)

The decision again is an easy one for me. The R8's advancements far outweigh the R's advantages.

Let's look at the Canon EOS R6 Mark II next.

Canon EOS R8 Compared to EOS R6 Mark II

Check out the EOS R8 vs. EOS R6 Mark II specification comparison along with the visual comparison of these cameras. Here are the Canon EOS R6 Mark II advantages over the R8:

  • IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)
  • Has dual memory card slots vs. 1
  • Has full mechanical shutter
  • 0.5" (12.7mm) vs. 0.39" (9.9mm) OLED color EVF, 3.69 Million dots vs. 2.36, 0.76x vs. 0.70x magnification
  • Has a customizable DOF Preview button on the front
  • Has Anti-smudge on the LCD
  • X-Sync 1/250 vs. 1/200 with electronic 1st curtain
  • 12 fps continuous shooting vs. 6 fps with electronic 1st curtain
  • At 40 fps (full electronic shutter), 75 image RAW buffer vs. 56
  • Movie recording length up to 6 hours vs. 2 hours.
  • LP-E6NH Li-ion Battery vs. LP-E17, 760 shots with LCD vs. 370
  • Has battery grip available
  • Has a joystick and rear control dial
  • Has a rate button
  • Has 3 custom modes vs. 2

The EOS R8 has some advantages:

  • Full electronic shutter supports exposures up to 30 seconds vs. 0.5 sec.
  • Smaller: 5.22 x 3.39 x 2.76" vs. 5.45 x 3.87 x 3.48" (132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0mm vs. 138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4mm)
  • Lighter: 16.3 oz vs.23.6 0z (461g vs. 670g)
  • At review time, $1,000 USD less expensive

While the R6 II is clearly the superior camera, the R8 earns a place in many kits by delivering the same image quality at a far lower price and by having a smaller size and lighter weight.

Canon EOS R8 Compared to the EOS R6

After presenting the Canon EOS R8 compared to the EOS R6 Mark II, I was asked how the Canon EOS R8 compared to the EOS R6. Good question, so let's answer it.

The Canon EOS R8 vs. EOS R6 specification comparison, along with the visual comparison of these cameras, highlight most of the "What are the differences between the Canon EOS R8 and the EOS R6?" answer.

Here are the R8 advantages over the R6:

  • Newer imaging sensor featuring 24.2 MP resolution vs. 20.1
  • Improved AF algorithms
  • Autofocuses in slightly brighter conditions (EV -6.5 to 21 vs.EV -6.5 to 20)
  • 1/16000 sec. electronic shutter
  • 40 fps continuous shooting with electronic shutter vs. 20
  • RAW Burst Mode with 0.5-second Pre-Shooting
  • 2 hour max movie continuous recording time vs. 29 min 59 sec.
  • Depth Compositing available in-camera
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 vs. USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Smaller: 5.22 x 3.39 x 2.76" vs. 5.45 x 3.84 x 3.48" (132.5 x 86.1 x 70.0mm vs. 138 x 97.5 x 88.4mm)
  • Lighter: 16.3 oz vs. 24.0 oz (461g vs.680g)
  • Considerably less expensive
  • Has a stills/video switch
  • Has a Multi-Function Shoe

Here are the R6 advantages over the R8:

  • In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 1/8000 sec. electronic first curtain shutter vs. 1/4000
  • 0.5" (12.7mm) EVF vs. 0.39" (9.9mm) with 2.36 million dots vs. 3.69, 0.76x magnification vs. 0.70x
  • Anti-smudge coating on LCD
  • 1/250 sec. X-Sync vs. 1/200
  • 12 fps shooting with electronic first curtain vs. 6
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Higher capacity LP-E6NH battery vs. LP-E17, 510 shots vs 370 (LCD), 380 shots vs. 200 (EVF)
  • Has a battery grip available
  • Has a joystick, a rear dial, and additional buttons
  • Has 3 custom modes vs. 2

While both cameras have signification advantages that should be carefully considered, the R8 delivers impressively for the lower price.

One number lower means one level higher in Canon's camera naming scheme, and the R7 is the next camera I want to look at.

Check out the EOS R8 vs. EOS R7 specification comparison along with the visual comparison of these cameras. Here are the Canon EOS R8 advantages over the R7:

  • Significantly larger full-frame imaging sensor delivers less noise and stronger background blur vs. APS-C size
  • The R8's 24.2 MP imaging sensor appears to outresolve the R's higher 30.4 MP results
  • Wider AF working range (EV -6.5 to 21 vs. EV -5 to 20)
  • Slightly wider AE working range (EV -3 – 20 vs. EV -2 – 20)
  • ISO 204800 vs. ISO 51200
  • 40 fps vs. 30 fps
  • Highest frame rate maintained for 56 RAW images vs. 42

Here are the EOS R7 advantages:

  • 32.5 MP in an APS-C format provides significantly higher pixel density than 24.4 MP in a full-frame sensor, including more reach when focal length limited
  • 1.15x viewfinder magnification vs. 0.70x
  • Has Anti-smudge coating on LCD
  • 1/320 X-sync vs. 1/200
  • 15 fps with 1st curtain electronic shutter vs. 6
  • Dual card slots vs. single
  • Higher capacity LP-E6NH Battery Pack
  • Stronger build quality and higher level of weather sealing

I own an R7 for testing RF-S lenses, but I'm addicted to full-frame image quality and would opt for the full-frame option for my daily use camera.

Canon EOS R8 Top

Summary

In the R8, Canon gives us high-end features and functionality in a compact, lightweight, low-priced camera.

The R8's imaging sensor was inherited from the still-relatively-new, much-higher-priced EOS R6 Mark II. While the 24.2 MP resolution is not as high as the RP's 26.2 MP spec or the R's 30.3 MP spec, the imaging sensor technology improvements enable the R8 to, impressively, out resolve both of these models.

The R8's powerful DIGIC X processor has been featured in Canon's highest-performing models. This camera's AF functionality and algorithms are incredible, and also shared from considerably more expensive cameras.

While the R8 does not provide as many controls and features, including in-body image stabilization and dual memory card slots, as its higher-priced alternatives, it has other advantages. The R8's small size and light weight are highly appealing, making this camera attractive even for those with higher budgets, including professionals requiring an easy-to-take-along backup or even as a first-choice model in some cases.

Certain is that the R8's image quality is totally professional grade. Even beginners will create outstanding images when using the R8 as a point-and-shoot model.

The Canon EOS R8 is a great choice for travel, hiking or other carry-all-day needs – and the adequately-sized, comfortable grip supports this use.

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

My Recommended Canon EOS R8 Retailers
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